Ok, Kia, we get the point. You’ve burst from the shadows of the wide Canadian car market recently thanks in part to Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer. And yes, he’s done tremendous work in transforming you from the “Plain Jane” (apologies to anyone named Jane reading this) vanilla ice cream to the Neapolitan flavor with fudge, sprinkles, gummy bears, whip cream with chocolate chips.
With the Rio 5, your slogan of “The Power To Surprise” was bang on and after a week in the Sorento SX, I think your marketing team should be given moderate raises and an extra week off yearly.
It’s hard enough to make a people mover look sexy (come on, function over fashion!) but you’ve found a way to do it.
You’ve offered 11 different trim levels. 11! With that kind of offering in the Sorento five or seven seater SUV, you could probably slide into the CUV market and dip your ambitious toes into the minivan market.
You’re like the hot girl/guy (Christina Hendricks and Ryan Gosling, for example) that has a full time 9-5 job, a part time job after work at an animal shelter and a weekend volunteer position at Sick Kids hospital singing to children. Sheesh, you’re making the competition look in their proverbial rear view mirror!
Let’s chat about the various trim levels, shall we?
First up is the LX which has the following options:
LX 2.4 FWD
LX 2.4 AWD
LX+ Turbo FWD
LX+ Turbo AWD
LX+ V6 AWD Seven-Seater
The EX follows that:
EX Turbo AWD
EX V6 AWD Seven-Seater
EX+ V6 AWD Seven-Seater
And at the top of the heap, the SX:
SX Turbo AWD
SX V6 AWD Seven-Seater
SX+ V6 AWD Seven-Seater
The 2.4L engine offers 185 horsepower via 4-cylinders. The Turbo engine is a 2.0L 4-cylinder with 240 horsepower and the 3.3L 6-cylinder GDI engine churning out 290 horsepower.
All engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission.
That’s a lot of options for consumers to digest. It’s almost too much..almost. But with a price range starting at $29,344 and maxing out at $46,695, there’s over $15,000 in choice that’s available and in most cases, there’s something for everyone.
The SX+ that I had for a week would be how I’d dress my Sorento. If I’m going to be scooting around town and galloping across the countryside with anywhere from one to seven people in the vehicle, I feel better knowing that nearly 300 horsepower on regular gas will keep me moving. The long list of features include 19” wheels, premium Napa leather seats, 360 degree view camera, smart cruise control, heated/cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, a front collision warning system along with a ton of others. And the 10-speaker Infinity audio system certainly doesn’t hurt.
Once you’ve found your ideal and safe seating position as the driver, the layout is beautifully clean, modern and filled with technology. From the large, eight-inch touchscreen UVO infotainment system (which is neatly laid out for easy operation) to the dashboard which is simple yet elegant, the Sorento has all the finishes of something that’s, well, not what you expect from Kia. There’s that “power to surprise” again.
Fit and finish wise, I give it full marks from the soft touch buttons to the piano black accents to the general beauty all around. Even the top portion of the steering wheel is finished in piano black (not my favourite part of the vehicle as on a warmer day, that portion of the wheel can get quite warm) adding a classy, luxurious look.
With a powerful V6, getting up to speed was never an issue, the vehicle was responsive and obedient around turns (well, as much as possible considering it’s still an SUV) and if I’m in the market for an SUV, the Sorento would bring me back for a second and possible third look.
Truth be told, unless you’ve lost a bet about seating positions in the Sorento, chances are that very few adults will be sitting in those two rear seats. I understand having them as an option for getting two extra people included in the fun…I’m not sure how they’d feel about their comfort level. Maybe the other two would be better suited to follow in a Rio 5.
Or you could use those two rear seats as separation between children/teens/hipsters that are acting up.
A few other quick notes before I wrap this up:
I love the panoramic sunroof (no surprise there)
The power lift gate is amazing. No need to wave your foot to open it. It senses the key in your purse/pocket, waits a few seconds to realize it’s you and the hatch opens automatically.
The drive quality is superb and there were moments where I felt like I was driving a car opposed to an SUV.
So Kia, with all the recent changes going on over recent years, it must be a great feeling to know that Canadian consumers are giving you the chance to surprise them, to wow them, to have them choose you over the others. What you’ve done with the Sorento is wonderful and even with a price tag of nearly $50K for the top of the line model, it holds strong value for money.
If you keep moving forward and producing strong, sensible and stylish offerings, perhaps your next marketing campaign should be centred on “We told you so”